Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a nationwide program committed to reducing gun crime in America. It is a network of existing local gun crime programs and those of other agencies at the state and federal level, with central coordination and support. With such central guidance and support, the program can be much more effective than individual efforts.
There are members of every law enforcement agency in the Territory participating in the Project Safe Neighborhoods program, assisted and supported by members of the public. These are dedicated, committed, experienced law enforcement agents and citizens who sincerely desire to bring about the safest and most secure community for all of us in the Virgin Islands. Since PSN's inception in 2001, the federal government has committed more than 1.5 billion dollars ($1.5 b) in support of this effort. This funding is being used to hire new federal and state prosecutors and special investigators and to provide training, distribute gun lock safety kits, develop and promote community outreach efforts to deter juvenile gun crime, and to support other gun violence reduction strategies.
- Significantly reduce gun related violence.
- Encourage citizens of the VI to work with law enforcement to address gun-related violent crime.
- Aggressively promote the message that all gun-related violent crime will meet strict enforcement and swift, certain punishment.
- Promote gun safety and education in USVI communities.
Strong partnerships lay the foundation upon which the success of Project Safe Neighborhoods is built. The U.S. Attorney in each judicial district is uniquely situated to bring together all law enforcement agencies to ensure a uniform and comprehensive approach to reduce gun crime. As such, every U.S. Attorney is tasked with bringing together and leading a local task force composed of federal, state, and local prosecutors and law enforcement, researchers, media and outreach specialists, and community leaders. The task force members work together to implement strategies of prevention, deterrence, and prosecution aimed at stopping criminal offenders from terrorizing our nation's communities. The tired old rivalries and competing agendas that sometimes exist among law enforcement officials must give way to strategic partnerships focused on community safety.
- U.S. Attorney
- Local Law Enforcement
- Media Specialists
- Outreach Specialists
- Community Leaders
- Business Leaders
Of vital importance to the success of any law enforcement partnership is the formation of a strategic plan to attack gun crime. The strategy will depend on the specific causes of gun crime in the community, the availability of law enforcement resources, and the expected outcome of each approach. Although the specific approach to combating gun crime will vary from district to district, PSN asks each U.S. Attorney to incorporate three national priorities in his or her strategic plan. Those priorities are as follows:
- Inform participants of crime reduction and suppression activities currently being employed by VIPD, ATF, US Attorney’s Office and the VI Attorney General’s Office.
- Inform participants of the crime prevention activities.
- Provide participants with a forum to discuss strategies to reduce gun violence and gun trafficking in targeted distressed neighborhoods.
- Develop strategies with the tourism and media industries to promote accurate information about gun violence in the Virgin Islands, including addressing common misconceptions about violence and police corruption in the Caribbean.
- Educate the tourism-based businesses (hotels, restaurants, attractions, etc.) in facility security and the proper ways to educate guests about safety without increasing the visitors’ fear level.
- Spur media coverage of the gun violence issue as it is, addressing baseline concerns of: Illegal gun trade, retaliation, “CSI Effects” (TV forensics) on trials using scientific evidence.